Rovi: we want to bring Blu-ray experience to streaming

Rovi: we want to bring Blu-ray experience to streaming
Richard Bullwinkle gets connected

At IFA 2011, digital entertainment leader Rovi announced it was introducing DivX Plus streaming into its portfolio.

This technology – which was acquired by Rovi back in 2010 – offers protected movie streaming on set-top boxes, connected TVs and the like, and Rovi is hoping that it could be the key to bringing a Blu-ray like experience to movie streaming.

This is because the technology enables the addition of subtitles, multiple language tracks and smooth fast-forwarding and rewinding of content.

The real key though, is the manufacturers which have adopted the technology. LG, Samsung and Toshiba all partner with Rovi, and DivX Plus has been created to be cross-platform – so you can theoretically move content through your LG TV and play it from where you left off on your Samsung tablet.

Blu-ray like experience

"One of our goals when speaking to Hollywood is that we can build a format that can deliver extra content and give a Blu-ray like experience," said Richard Bullwinkle, chief evangelist, Rovi, to TechRadar.

"[With the technology] you can pick the audio track, subtitles on the fly when you are watching the stream and you can a director's track."

If you want a true 1080p stream when using DivX Plus you will need around 6Mbps bandwidth, but Bullwinkle did note that there's some interesting technology within the codec that will smooth out any judders usually associated with the streaming of big files.

"Built into the codec you can put pre-loaded information in there," said Bullwinkle.

"So we can tell it when an explosion is coming up and it will make the stream a lot smoother."

Getting smart

Bullwinkle is hoping that DivX Plus streaming will unlock the full potential of connected televisions and thinks that, even though consumer response has been rather muted so far, the latest range of televisions with web capabilities are just what the industry needs.

"I think the latest generation of smart TVs nailed it – the new Samsung TVs just work.

"The things I am seeing coming out of LG and Toshiba are also really good. Now we need retailers to promote it.

"There's a full display [of these TVs] in Best Buy and this is what needs to happen elsewhere. They spend a lot of money showing people how to use them."

With Google TV coming to the UK as well, the idea of TV married with web content isn't going anywhere soon but Google has found the US unresponsive to its connected set tops.

Bullwinkle things this will change, however, when the search giant releases Google TV in the UK.

"I have enough respect for them to know that the next generation [of Google TV] will be much better than the first gen, so I expect they are building something that is much more entertainment focused than search focused."

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.